This Monday’s screening is a superbly filmed documentary by Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Marie Teno on a highly sensitive and controversial topic of German/European/African relationship
(2004, 74 min. dir. Jean-Marie Teno, English subtitles)
TIME: 5.00 p.m.
VENUE: Howard College, MTB (West Wing, 1st Floor), German, Media Room F251
About the film:
In The Colonial Misunderstanding Jean-Marie Teno sheds light on the complex and problematic relationship between colonisation and European missionaries on the African continent. He embarks on a journey through Germany’s former colonies to investigate the history of the Rhenish Missionary Society and its conflicting loyalties. Following in the footsteps of the missionaries, Teno travels from Wuppertal, South Africa to Namibia, Cameroon and Togo before returning to Wuppertal, Germany. Founded 1828 with the noble goal of spreading the Christian message, the Rhenish Missionary Society quickly became embroiled in the subjugation of the continent to the colonial rule. In their eyes the mission’s vision and colonial policies were intrinsically linked: “The shotgun and the bible must march forth together.”
Teno’s film looks into the complexities arising from European colonialism in Africa, focusing on Namibia and Cameroon in particular. He illustrates the role of missionaries in colonizing, interviewing modern historians and professors to dig to the bottom of this deeply rooted issue in African history that has shaped the way of life in many formerly colonized nations. The film shows the complete disregard of local traditions and beliefs by the European colonizers, along with the supplication of their own ideals and values. Teno asserts that Europe needs to change the modern approach, and one of the first steps to this is the acknowledgment of their wrongdoing in the first place.
The film is informative and helpful in getting an idea of what is wrong in many countries in Africa and what the right direction would be to start to change it. While Teno himself acknowledges that change may not ever happen, hopefully his film will be a starting point to educating more people on the subject.
Dr. Marion Pape
University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Arts
German Programme
Durban, 4041

TEL: 031-260 1086/2380
FAX: 031-260 1242

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